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Riparian Planting Effectiveness Monitoring

Background

Many areas of the state have identified the lack of healthy streamside vegetation as one of the limiting factors related to the decline of water quality and fish habitat. In the 1990’s before OWEB was a state agency, many riparian planting and fencing projects were implemented under the Watershed Health Program and Governor’s Watershed Enhancement Board (GWEB). These riparian restoration projects were designed to improve riparian vegetation conditions and thus help restore water quality and fish habitat. Riparian planting projects use native shrubs and trees to stabilize stream banks, displace invasive species, provide stream shade, and provide habitat and food sources for fish and wildlife species. Mature trees that fall into the stream also provide hiding and resting places for fish and other aquatic species. Riparian fencing projects are designed to exclude livestock, and in some cases wildlife, from riparian areas when overuse is potentially damaging to sensitive stream banks and the stream bed.

In 2009, OWEB contracted with Demeter Design, Inc. (DDI) to conduct a retrospective analysis of a representative sample of riparian restoration and fencing projects in basins located in the South Coast and Grande Ronde areas of Oregon.

Effectiveness monitoring for riparian restoration and fencing projects evaluates the current riparian vegetation structure and seeks to determine whether these projects still exist on the landscape and are meeting the original objectives to a) increase riparian cover and stream shade, b) reduce livestock pressure on the riparian area, and c) reduce stream bank erosion and increase stream bank stability.

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